Taking an after exercise plunge in an ice water bath is a common practice among many elite athletes as a way to recover faster, and reduce muscle pain and soreness after intense training sessions or competitions. Ice baths are also thought to help flush waste products like lactic acid, reduce swelling and tissue breakdown.
ICE THERAPY THEORY
The theory behind ice baths is related to the fact that intense exercise actually causes micro-trauma, or tiny tears in muscle fibers. This muscle damage not only stimulates muscle cell activity, but also helps repair and strengthen damaged muscles.
PRO ICE PROTOCOL
Although there is no current protocol regarding the ideal time and temperature for cold immersion routines, most professional athletes or trainers who use them recommend a water temperature between 12 to 15 degrees Celsius and immersion times of 5 to 10 and sometimes up to 20 minutes.
COLD WATER THERAPY – HOW TO DO IT
If you are going to try cool or cold water immersion after exercise, don’t overdo it. Ten minutes immersed in 15 degrees Celsius water should be enough time to get the benefit and avoid the risks.
ICE – NATURAL HEALER
Whether the science supports the ice bath theory or not, many athletes swear that an ice bath after intense training helps them recover faster prevent injury, and just feel better overall.
It is also important to remember that proper dieting and supplementation can also significantly contribute toward a quicker recover. Branch Chain Amino Acids and Glutamine are healthy options to reduce soreness and prevent injury.